Latest Press

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2019 personal letter of congratulations to Michael.  Click here!

"Miles is Chicago's best kept secret...one of the leading lights of contemporary instrumental music." 
- Midwest Record

Newsletter

Representation

Michael is represented by

Siegel Artist Management

(570) 258-5700

ExistentialBanjo.com

10 LIVE VIDEO CLIPS with some of the world's greatest musicians--Darol Anger on violin, Corky Siegel on harmonica, Erkan Ogur of Turkey and many more. 

CLICK HERE

EXISTENTIALBANJO.COM

New Releases

A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 

 

Two New Hal Leonard books

BOB DYLAN FOR BANJO

 

FIRST 50 SONGS
To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)

 

CD's On Sale

 

 

 

 

Here's another video clip from the same concerts with the Chamber Blues String Quartet.   This one features the Dorian Movement from the Suite for the Americas.   Orchestration for these was done by my long-time friend and colleague, Margaret James.   This tune is also on the col•lage CD.   Thanks!   michael

PS And special thanks to Dave and Kathy Monk from BraveNewPictures.com for recording these.  

 

Here is brief video clip of the Courante Movement of my composition, Suite for the Americas.   This features clawhammer banjo accompanied by the Chamber Blues String Quartet.   This piece is also featured on my newest CD, col•lage.  Although the concert was in 2011, this is the first release of the video from that event.  Enjoy!  

 

Here's a video that I just received featuring our ensemble from the col•lage CD release concert playing Take Five.   This features some of Chicago's very finest musicians---Geraldo de Oliveira on percussion; David Young on trumpet; Bob Lizik on bass; and in the back shadows is David Jennings playing the vibes.   This video was recorded by Dave and Kathy Monk 

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Here's a brief video clip of a rehearsal with the Newberry Consort for our show, "Beautiful Dreamer:   Music of Abraham Lincoln's America.   This ensemble includes Ellen Hargis, vocals; David Douglass, violin; David Schrader, piano; Paul Hecht, narration; and yours truly adding banjo, guitar, and vocals.   In this video I also describe the fretless banjo that I'm playing.  

SUZY BOGGUSS & GERRY O'CONNOR (join Michael on-stage in Ireland)

Just returned from an amazing tour through the Ireland and England.   There is much to say about it.  One of the highlights for sure was when I had a slot on the main stage at the festival, I put together a trio that featured Suzy Bogguss singing harmony and Gerry O'Connor playing his amazing four string banjo.  We created an instant arrangement of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released."  

This is JS Bach's Sleepers Awake.   I'm playing the melody on the banjo, David Jennings adds harmony on the vibes, Bob Lizik add and exquisite bass line.   And on top of all that, Sue Demel makes this all shimmer with a beautiful vocal line on the very top.  This was a live performance when we first released the CD in 2011.  

This is the most soulful of all the banjos.   It was built by Jim Hartel (minstrelbanjo.com) and it is an exact replica of the Ashborne banjo from 1855.   In it's day, the Ashborne was known as the "steinway of the banjo world."   Of all the banjos that he has built, Jim Hartel told me that this one was the best--and he doesn't say that everyone.  Enjoy! 

 

In this video, that I just put up on you tube, I demonstrate this amazing instrument, The Hajuj.  It was built for me in Morocco by Zine Abedine.   He is one of the premier builders and players of the hajuj.  It is the central instrument in Gnawa music ensembles that play what is sometimes described as trance music.   It is a sacred tradition of the Berber culture.  In Gnawa music there is much singing and percussion as well accompanying the groove of the Hajuj.  

What is most amazing is that the right hand technique for playing the hajuj, closely resembles the right hand technique for clawhammer banjo.  The difference is that the Hajuj is at least 600 years old, and the banjo only registers, as a 5-string instrument, in the 170-year-old range.    So for that reason, the Hajuj (as a drum with strings) is one of the grand elder statesmen of the banjo world.  

But this fact and this instrument are largely unknown in the banjo world.  Enjoy.  

Here is a new video, produced by Garry Grasinski at Grayson Media Inc.  I'm excited to share my new Deering Goodtime Fretless banjo using their newest pickup system.   I have it plugged into a Fishman Loudbox amp.  The banjo is tuned ADGCD, which lends itself quite well to playing blues in the key of D.  More videos to come!

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